Winter weather can bring along with it dry, itchy, flaky skin due to harsh soaps, dry indoor air, low humidity, winter wind and cold-weather! Fortunately though, there are safe, natural everyday products found in many homes that one can use to help hydrate and soothe dry skin without using the commercial, chemical laden lotions and oils on the market. Soothing the itch and re-hydrating your skin by treating it with a winter beauty regime, once-a-week, is a lot easier and cheaper than you might think. During the winter I try to exfoliate and moisturize by using a homemade DIY oil based body scrub made up of organic extra virgin olive oil, epsom salts, plain white sugar and essential oils. I encourage you to give it a try, and I’m pretty confident that once you’ve tried this you too will develop this once a week routine during the long winter months… and say goodbye to chemical, store bought lotions and dry, itchy, flaky skin!
My Winter Beauty Regimen
Step 1- Exfoliate & Moisturize
While moisturizing your skin is very beneficial during winter months it’s actually important to exfoliate and slough away dead skin cells as well. Exfoliating dead skin cells helps the oil penetrate the skin cells. Occasionally I will do dry skin brushing before showering to not only remove dead skin cells but also to help with circulation and to stimulate the lymphatic system. When done properly your skin will have a soft red glow to it and feel velvety smooth.
Using an oil-based body scrub to moisturize helps trap moisture in the skin and prolongs its staying power. I love how it leaves my skin feeling refreshed and moisturized all week long.
While some warn against long hot showers during the winter because they tend to rid your body of its natural, skin-protecting oils I actually prefer them. I don’t find this to be a problem as the oil-based body scrub moisturizes and replenishes any natural oils that may have been lost with this practice.
Epsom salts and sugar help to exfoliate the dry, itchy, flaky skin leaving your skin feeling silky smooth.
Sugar (from sugar cane) produces glycolic acid, one of the natural alpha hydroxy acids known to help exfoliate dry skin (sorry but sucanat, although a healthier substitute for sugar when eating it doesn’t work here).
TIP: Epsom Salts are too coarse and abrasive to use as a scrub without a little help from your blender. I place a small amount in my blender and run just long enough to reduce the size of the salts to nice sized granules. Be careful though not to over process or you’ll end up with powder.
CAUTION: While Epsom salt baths can be relaxing, they are not recommended for people with diabetes.
Step 2- Essential Oils
Adding essential oils to your oil-based body scrub adds all of their valuable properties which will vary depending on the oil used. The following essential oils are my favorites for skin.
SINGLES: Sacred Frankincense, Frankincense, Myrrh, Vetiver, Helichrysum, Cypress, Rose, Lavender, Patchouli, Geranium, Royal Hawaiian Sandalwood, Neroli, Palmarosa, Spikenard.
BLENDS: Gentle Baby, Sensation, 3 Wise Men, White Angelica, Highest Potential
Use any of these single oils by themselves or make your own combinations of two or more to suit your needs. It is not recommended to mix two blends together but feel free to add a single oil to a blend. This is not an exact science so feel free to experiment.
Or choose your favorite essential oil based on your skin type:
OILY SKIN: Melaleuca alternifolia, Bergamot, Geranium, Lemongrass
DRY SKIN: Royal Hawaiian Sandalwood, Chamomile, Lavender, Rose
MATURE SKIN: Lavender, Neroli, Jasmine, Geranium
I love the following Skin Rejuvenation Recipe:
6 drops Royal Hawaiian Sandalwood essential oil
4 drops Geranium essential oil
3 drops Lavender essential oil
2 drops Frankincense essential oil
MY SIMPLE BODY SCRUB INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup Epsom Salts (after blending to reduce size of granules)
Enough cold-pressed oil olive, coconut, almond (preferably organic) to dampen the mixture (not too much though)
Essential oils of choice… 8-10 drops
Place ingredient in a glass jar with tight fitting lid and mix well. Store in cool, dark place until ready to use.
Choice of Carrier Oil Used
Olive Oil- A good oil for skin care, especially dry skin!
Almond oil- A very good massage oil it is beneficial for dry skin and helps relieve itching, soreness and dryness!
Sesame oil- Great as an all-over body moisturizer. rich in vitamin E, protein, lecithin and minerals – all of which are essential to healthy skin. Note: Sesame oil may overpower a blend if not diluted with another carrier oil.
For best results its best to choose carrier oils and essential oils depending on your type of skin. You’ll find more in-depth information on the benefits of various carrier oil options here. Be sure to experiment with the carrier oils and essential oils being used, and remember to have FUN… your body is going to thank you!
I prefer to apply this after getting wet while in the shower. Some prefer to apply before getting wet but keep in mind there is no right or wrong way to do this. Start by gently massaging this exfoliating scrub all over your body and face. Be sure to leave on your skin for 3-5 minutes in order to receive all the beneficial effects from the ingredients used. Repeat once a week during the winter months.
Step 3- Hydrate
It’s important to hydrate the skin not only externally but internally too so be sure to consume at least 6-8 glasses of water per day. Learn more about the importance of keeping hydrated here!
Step 4- Diet
Another crucial element to beautiful skin is making sure that you’re getting enough healthy fats in your diet. Essential fatty acids like omega-3s help maintain your skins natural moisture-retaining oil barrier. Consume foods high in omega-3’s: flax oil, walnuts, and cold-water fish (wild caught preferably) such as tuna (wild caught ONLY to avoid mercury), herring, halibut, salmon, sardines, and mackerel.